Major League Soccer Week 8 Rankings & Predictions

What kind of Rapids team are we dealing with this year? - Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Many questions to sort out over eight weeks of Major League Soccer play. Are the Colorado Rapids overrated or underrated? Has the Eastern Conference reverted back to a confederation of sad sack teams? Will the Portland Timbers ever get their act together? Let's get to it.

After an unfortunate two week hiatus, the Burgundy Wave is pleased to announce its return of the Thursday Daily Wave weekly rankings and predictions. Without further delay, let's jump into the MLS scene.

WESTERN CONFERNECE

1. Real Salt Lake (Defeated Portland Timbers 1-0) Leave it up to a team from Utah to post a successful yet ultimately vanilla run to the top of the table. RSL looks like one of the league's strongest teams, but a nondescript style has been the rudder for the Rapids rivals to the west.

2. Seattle Sounders (Defeated Chivas USA 2-1) The Sounders look to be finally getting the pieces together after a stuttering start to the season. The rest of the Western Conference should be worried about an oncoming Seattle onslaught.

3. FC Dallas (Defeated Toronto FC 2-1) Is it unfair that we keep waiting for the FC Dallas mid-season fade? It's not an unreasonable question. But one thing seems likely: Oscar Pareja has his team better prepared and playing a nicer style of play than his predecessor.

4. Vancouver Whitecaps (Tied Los Angeles Galaxy 2-2) We know that Burgundy Wave managing editor Chris White thinks Vancouver is overrated, which is in contrast to the consistently high ranks that his site's weekly predictions give the neighbors to the north. But the 'Caps keep peeling off strong results when Jose Mari isn't around to spoil their fun.

5. Colorado Rapids (Tied San Jose Earthquakes 0-0) Colorado is the most enigmatic squad in the league thus far this early season. Their defense, which everyone thought was a weak link to this team, has been stingy, affording few solid opportunities at their own net. But the offense hasn't gotten off the ground aside from penalty kicks and 25-yard blasts from a defensive midfielder. Will the real Rapids stand up this weekend against the Sounders?

6. Los Angeles Galaxy (Tied Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2) After the Rapids, the Galaxy are the hardest MLS team to figure out. Their sample size of games is smaller than the rest, but there's a feeling that this year's team's accomplishments aren't living up to the level of talent that the Galaxy possesses. Don't be too surprised if they miss the playoffs.

7. Portland Timbers (Lost to RSL 1-0) The story of the year so far is the woeful performance coming from the Timbers, who can't seem to find the net and generally look disorganized outside of their defensive zone. It's too early to sound the alarm bells in Portland, but that day isn't far off.

8. Chivas USA (Lost to Seattle Sounders 2-1) We've been hard on Chivas USA, but they're a resilient bunch and have made life difficult for most of their opponents. But they lack a reliable forward and Dan Kennedy isn't playing quite up to the level of years past.

9. San Jose Earthquakes (Tied Colorado Rapids 0-0) The Denver Post reported that San Jose seemed happy to escape Commerce City with a tie. Yes and no. They should be pleased they go back to wine country with a point, but they should be embarrassed that they played so poorly and still can't score despite having Chris Wondolowski on their side.

EASTERN CONFERNECE

1. Sporting Kansas City (Defeated Montreal Impact 4-0) You can't put to much stock into a drubbing of the feckless Impact, but Sporting KC's dominance is revealing because it shows the defending champs can score in numbers, even against sloppy opponents. Dom Dwyer is an emerging star in this league.

2. Columbus Crew (Tied D.C. United 1-1) Columbus is losing the luster of their early season success. But given how weak the Eastern Conference is turning out to be, they're the only logical conclusion for the second spot in their conference.

3. D.C. United (Tied Columbus Crew 1-1) It wasn't long ago when we called for Ben Olsen's  demise. The coach for D.C. United probably deserves to be sacked, but their current run of games without a loss may keep the wolves away from the door.

4. Toronto FC (Lost to FC Dallas 2-1) Tough times continue for the Reds. Early in the season we wondered whether a few big signings would mask the holes in this lineup. After a high-flying couple of opening weeks, it turns out our fears were justified.

5. New York Red Bulls (Defeated Houston Dynamo 4-0) A nice week for the Energy Drinks, who beat Philadelphia Union in a midweek tilt and got their batteries recharged enough to slap the Dynamo by a 4-0 margin. The Drinks aren't out of the woods yes, but the week elevated them in the standings for sure.

6. Chicago Fire (Tied New England Revolution 1-1) A winless team so high in the rankings. We suppose. This is how bad the Eastern Conference is right now. A team with six ties to their name after seven games looks like a more promising squad than many of those stooping below them.

7. Philadelphia Union (Lost to New York Red Bulls 2-1) It's difficult to know what to think of the Union. We don't mind shipping Jack McInerney off to Montreal, but while the team seems solid they continue to deliver befuddling mediocre results. Maybe they're not ready for the playoffs.

8. New England Revolution (Tied Chicago Fire 1-1) The Revs may not have the staying power to keep up with their Eastern Conference competitiors. They're not scoring goals the way they should, and the goalkeeping is still a question mark.

9. Houston Dynamo (Lost to New York Red Bulls 4-0) When does a Dominick Kinnear team lost by four goals. Their notoriously stingy defense isn't what it used to be, but Houston is used to starting slow out of the gate. We suspect they'll be hanging around by the end of the season.

10. Montreal Impact (Lost to Sporting KC 4-0) Montreal may be looking at their fourth head coach in three years in the MLS. A year ago this was a promising MLS squad. Now they're an embarrassment.

PREDICTIONS

Colorado at Seattle - Draw

Philadelphia at Montreal - Philadelphia

Dallas at D.C. United - Dallas

New York at Columbus - Columbus

Sporting KC at New England - Draw

Vancouver at RSL - RSL

Chivas USA at San Jose - Draw

Portland at Houston - Houston

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